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PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 9:26 am 
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Location: Turks and Caicos Islands
I've been experimenting with different mast top camera mounts. I made this one from a single piece of aluminum sheet bent in half and shaped to fit that mast top fitting slot. I've been using it to take time lapse videos with a GoPro camera, but could easily put a 1/4"-20 bolt though the mount so any camera with the standard fitting would also work. The safety catch is a bent bicycle spoke.

Image

I've got some other photos of the mount if anyone is interested. Will be putting some of the time lapse stuff on the blog shortly.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 8:26 am 
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Howdy Gringo ... where you been ?

.. those short naps are great, Eh ? :mrgreen:

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 9:28 am 
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Location: Turks and Caicos Islands
We're still around. Made a record number of trips up to the USA last half of 2013, but still living and sailing in the Turks and Caicos. We bought an old cruising catamaran in Florida last spring and sailed it home. That took some time.

The TI remains our favorite small boat, though and we take ours out every chance we get. I just posted a time lapse video from this camera mount on the blog. It's working out okay. I have thought thoughts about a simple pan and tilt mechanism with two lines down the mast under the sail sleeve.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 2:22 pm 
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Location: Pensacola, FL
Sweet mod there Gringo. I am very interested. Seems simple yet effective. Have you tried using the tilt/pan extension that would allow the camera to turn down to see over top of the entire Island?

I am also very interested in your pan/tilt ideas, please share. Are you using a wifi bacpac for control?

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2013 8:05 am 
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If you go to my blog from yesterday and just scroll past all the walking-on-the-beach stuff until you spot the bright TI yellow, There are a couple photos of this mount. It's just bent aluminum. Now that I know how sturdy it is, I'm working on a primitive pan and tilt for the Hobie mast. That wide angle GoPro lens only needs to be pointed roughly in the right direction in azimuth. But if you want control over the fish eye distortion you need to put your subject matter in the center of the lens vertically.

I'm working on a prototype that has four strings running through a semi-flexible piece of tubing secured at both ends. Think of a marionette arrangement. I've got a 3-D printer almost going now, and the finished version might be a custom piece. Think there's a market for Hobie Tandem Island mast cam pan and tilts? I saw a lot of plans for electric and RC versions, but I really am looking for Hobie Simple, if you know what I mean. Taking inspiration from the rudder controls. Simple works good on boats. Electricity...not so good.

We have the extended battery pack, and the GoPro White with WiFi,also have the WiFi app on an iPad so we can monitor the image and control the camera. What we do not have is a waterproof iPad. I remember seeing some sleeve thing on Gizmag or somewhere that sealed up the iPad but left the screen exposed. I just ordered one of the Nuud waterproof cases for it. It'll be a week or two before we see it, though.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2013 3:48 pm 
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Location: Kailua 96734
I was looking at the mini for charting - it's looking very good. But not much for bags yet.

I was just at the shack, they said Lifeproof and otterbox have nice iPad cases now, for the water.

Drypak and others have bigger generic map cases, but may not be good for touch screens/taking photos.

Heats possibly going to be an issue with enclosing these pads.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2013 6:30 pm 
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Nice and simple Gringo. Do you get any movement in the footage ? I did this with pneumatic quick connect fittings for my wind vane.

Image

A lot more complicated but so stable and secure. And being quick connect I can also just click on a camera ( which I haven't done the mount for yet ). Are you getting good footage now. I remember you were having issues with the GoPro ?

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2013 7:14 pm 
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That little camera mount is rock solid. No movement at all. The piece that goes through the slot in the mast fitting is tapered, so it jams in tight. the bike spoke keeps it from moving in the loosening direction.

I am still having my issues with GoPro cameras. I've found that with some post processing the images do have some improvement. But my main problem is fogging inside the waterproof housings. Nothing I have done, yet, has totally eliminated it. Fortunately, up on top of the mast I can use one of the vented case hatches and of course that eliminates the fogging issue.

I'm just not really sure where these cameras fit into this activity, really. The GoPro type camera is good for recording a few seconds of intense activity. Hours of sailing are boring. I'm having some fun with putting the camera on the dog, though. I re-did the Go-Pro mount for his life jacket and some of that stuff is pretty funny. This dog walks with a real 'spring' in his step, though, and it's very difficult to deal with that. I've been putting the camera on different places on the dog. The swimming stuff is fun. I need to take him out into a little surf shore break with it.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2013 7:18 pm 
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Location: Kailua 96734
I loved the dooley-cam. When these dogs shake off the water it's hilarious.

Put him on a boogie board. :mrgreen:


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 07, 2013 7:22 am 
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I don't have wifi yet on my gopro but it's obviously a necessity if mounted on top of the mast. I'm assuming the camera still has to be on, and you can control taking pics or recording video from the remote. Is the battery life good in standby?

I'm most interested in this for hooking up on large fish aiming down, but that is after the sail is furled, so a pan adjustment is likely a must. hmm...think...think..

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 07, 2013 7:37 am 
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The new Dooley Cam mount works pretty well as far as mounting the GoPro to the dog. It's easy, safe and solid. And he's comfortable with it. What's NOT so easy is finding the best place on the dog. This Jack Russell bounces when he walks. I tried the camera on his neck ( no go) and front shoulders, before putting it about in the middle of his back. The front shoulder mount really bounced it back and forth in addition to up and down. Too many moving parts inside the dog for a stable mount over either set of legs. I briefly toyed with an idea for putting it on his head, but early experiments taught me that the resulting video is almost unusable due to the extreme side to side and up and down motions.

This is working pretty well:
Image


I am still getting the up and down motion when he trots but it's better. Swimming of course, is great footage. Keeps the little sucker on the plane of the water surface.

I'm wondering if there isn't some way to take the shake out of it in post processing, like the new cameras do with software.

Applying fuzzy logic to a Dog Cam would be pretty appropriate, don't you think?

Anyone know of any video editing software that takes motion out ?

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Last edited by Gringo on Thu Mar 07, 2013 7:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 07, 2013 7:51 am 
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yaknrugger wrote:
I don't have wifi yet on my gopro but it's obviously a necessity if mounted on top of the mast. I'm assuming the camera still has to be on, and you can control taking pics or recording video from the remote. Is the battery life good in standby?

I'm most interested in this for hooking up on large fish aiming down, but that is after the sail is furled, so a pan adjustment is likely a must. hmm...think...think..


That would actually be pretty easy to do. Just set the camera up deflected so that it points almost straight down. With these lenses you'll get all the real estate around the boat.

Panning with the sail furled is easy. Just rotate the mast. If you really needed a tilt, it would be pretty simple to set up, too. You only need two strings up inside a tube. Or a spring arrangement up top at the camera and one string to pull it down against the spring trying to pull it back up. I like that one.

I probably would not have bought a second GoPro for myself. My wife gave me one as a Christmas present, and hence the flurry of new mounts and going back to try it again after essentially giving up on it a year ago. This new one came with the WiFi, and she also gave me a remote for it. I haven't used the remote. IT does NOT program like GoPro swears it does, nor does it work like Go Pro swears it does, and their customer service sucks. We did manage to get it working with the Apple app for the iPad, which is a better way to go. With the GoPro remote, (not water resistant by the way) you just get a mirror of the display and controls on the GoPro LCD. With the iPad, you can get the image sent to you and this is really the important bit.

With WiFi on, you'll eat up battery life. And it's friggen difficult to turn off, I found. Pushing the button to turn it off, does that for a short time. Then it turns itself back on. You have to go into the camera menu to really turn it off. A pain in the butt when you're trying to read those little numbers in sunlight.

I bought the extended battery pack, which gives you a lot more juice to play with.

I feel I keep getting sucked in to spending more and more money trying to get these GoPro things to work, and it continues to be a disappointment. The fogging issue is severe. The image quality is sub standard. What it's got going for it is basically the small size, mounting options, and ability to take time lapse if you don't mind being limited to the image quality. And the mounting arrangements. Those are gimmicks, but convenient.

I'm convinced that those nice GoPro movies you see on Youtube have been heavily processed, and maybe that's the answer. I just haven't found the right processing software yet. But you won't get those images out of the box, I'm thinking. I'll probably fart around with these camera a bit more, then pack them up and put them away to be used when a novelty shot idea comes to mind. There are a lot of much better cameras around.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 07, 2013 12:35 pm 
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OK -We need a mast camera mount option with downhaul controls for Pan and Tilt. Got that Hobie Genie? :wink:

Frankly, if you put a tilt head up there that's loose enough to pull by string, it will soon flop around and work itself lose. So many centrifugal forces, kinda like being on Dooley's tail.

We might take a look at what the windsurfers and small sailboats have been building and steal some ideas there.

Gringo, have you tried Avid Studio software (PC)? You can download and try free I think. Otherwise, Youtube will offer to "improve" your video and remove shake when it detects it. Given it a try? Free option, when you upload the video, but the results may be bizarre.

Pentax is the only company with a solid underwater still/video camera that has a real remote option. Their small radio transmitter is waterproof and there's no extra battery drain.

That iPad control app is awesome sounding though. To see the picture is a real plus.

I''ll ask you more about the iPad later.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 07, 2013 12:54 pm 
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I'm sure you tried reusable desiccants, so is there any way to wrap the housing, (inside or outside) with a foil or spaceblanket material?

Image

If you made a thermal sleeve for it, out of reflective soft cooler material, I think this would help... The lens is always going to be black though.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 08, 2013 7:33 am 
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NOHUHU wrote:
:

Frankly, if you put a tilt head up there that's loose enough to pull by string, it will soon flop around and work itself lose. So many centrifugal forces, kinda like being on Dooley's tail.



Yes, if you don't put some friction into it, it would probably shake loose eventually. I don't think the lateral forces are as great as Dooley's tail. He gets to wagging that thing so fast that sometimes I wonder why it doesn't fly right off of his butt.

I was thinking more of some friction washers so that there was some resistance, and using a spring against a string to hold it in tilt position. The spring would normally keep the camera level. Pulling the string would load the spring, and tilt the camera down. The spring would maintain tension and keep it tight. There would have to be some spring tension still in the fully level position with some kind of movement stop. I have an idea of how to do that with just a short piece of the "Hobie standard" black bungee and a circle cut out of something like starboard. (I found a sheet of the stuff while beach combing) With this approach, you just need a string running down between the mast and sail sleeve. You pull the camera down to the tilt position you want, and then snug up the string. That makes the lower end simple, too.

Simplicity is way key here. I've got this down to one moving part.

On the Pentax, I used a pocket W80 for over a year and loved it. It wasn't quite as good in image quality as the Nikon AW100 that I carry now, but it has some great features and I wouldn't be adverse to another Pentax product. The W80 eventually died because it's made out of soft plastic. Pure and simple. Eventually, it leaks somewhere. Still, for the money, I got a hard year's use out of it and would certainly buy another one, if I didn't have the Nikon.

We also have a Kx1 Pentax which is an okay DSLR, except that it scarfs up Alkaline AA batteries 4 at a time ( SUCKS!) and is useless for video. We bought two of them, and at least one has always been broken. One's broken right now. Good stills, though, if you don't mind dealing with dust spots on the sensor a lot. I eventually got tired of cleaning it and just use Paintshop to erase the spots. Now that I think about it, I would not buy another one of those. Primarily for the battery hassle.

I've got lots of dessicants. I think I cleaned Amazon out last year when I was trying to fix this. I've been trying the extended battery case for the extra room, and sticking five dessicant packs in there, and it still fogs up.

Next step is to store and assemble it all in a low humidity environment. I have been thinking about that. How to fill it with dry air to start with. Perhaps drill a couple holes in the housing, and install some ports to flush with some kind of gas or dry air? Dedicate that housing to mast top.

lately, I've just been using the vented back for the cases, which works at the top of the mast but not on the swimming dog. Fogging is much less of a problem doing time lapse. It's the video where it really messes up.

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